North York head coach Brent Hughes put together a line of Michael Morgan between Chris Sekelyk and Grayden Gottschalk before Sunday afternoon’s game vs. the Burlington Cougars; they might be seeing a lot of each other from now on.
The MSG line (Morgan, Sekelyk, Gottschalk) combined for 11 points as the Rangers hammered the Cougars 7-2 Sunday, pulling themselves within a single point of Burlington for fourth place in the Southwest Conference with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
Needless to say, Hughes was pleased with the combination.
“The new guy Sekelyk really adds a lot to that line there,” Hughes said.
“I know Morgan is happy to get rewarded too for that work, and Grayden has been pretty consistent all year. It is great to see the group contribute like that, but beyond them, we really felt like we got great contributions from all over the roster and the goaltender.”
Rangers’ captain Jeremy Szabo scooped in a loose puck from just on top of the goal crease 4:20 into the first period, but Burlington forward Ben Morris got it back under 10 minutes later with a quick snapshot off the post and in on a Cougars’ power play.
Rookie defender Fedor Rudakov replied with a power-play goal of his own at the 18:14-mark of the opening frame to give the Rangers the lead for good; and then the MSG line took over.
First Sekelyk, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Pickering, snapped over Burlington goaltender Austin Washkurak’s blocker at 9:09 of the second.
Next it was Gottschalk’s turn, as the big forward powered to the front of the net at 16:36 to chip in a Morgan rebound.
Finally Morgan himself got in the act, tapping in a gorgeous feed from Sekelyk with 2:01 remaining in the middle frame.
Morgan added two more in the third at 16 seconds and 5:46, while Burlington captain Willy Paul got a consolation goal with 2:16 left in the contest.
Jeremie Lintner made 33 saves for his ninth victory of the season, while Washkurak faced 36 shots in the Burlington goal.
“That was a full, complete team effort from our guys today,” said Hughes.
“I was very happy from our response today, obviously we have had a few good leads slip away in the past, but today we didn’t quit playing. I’m really happy about that, guys were committing to blocking shots, our D-zone was strong and kept the Cougars to the outside. I thought our power play could have been rewarded a bit more after moving the puck around great, but we played a strong game for a full 60 minutes and I’m very happy.”
The win pulled the Rangers into a tie for fifth in the conference with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens with 49 points each. North York will battle those Jr. Canadiens on Wednesday night at the Herb Carnegie Centennial Arena in what is truly a four-point game.
Puck drops at Bathurst and Finch at 8:30 p.m.
Article by Jamie Neugebauer